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You should know them, then put them aside and just play and have a good time.


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Infinity is a very, very large value indeed, that's best handled as an abstract concept, rather than trying to understand it.
Think of the largest number that you can imaging ... say a digit followed by a million zeros, or the number of atoms in the universe.
In comparison with infinity, those numbers are a close approximation to zero.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The post earlier that said 2048 is OK for Western music with 12 tones per scale. 2048 is 2^11, which is all the possible two-or more combinations of notes in sequence.
Eastern and middle eastern scales often have microtones, so have more that 12 notes per octave, so the number of feasible scales would be significantly higher.
That also ignores the possiblity of scales that span more than an octave ... and is there any real reason why they should not?

Mario's guitar book's 17 scales you should know are plenty for most of us; too many for lots of us. The two diminished scales are, of course, actually the same thing, varying only by where one starts them.

Don't get hung up on them!
Edit: I.e. ... what Matt said.

Last edited by Gordon Scott; 08/15/22 11:19 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott

Don't get hung up on them!
Edit: I.e. ... what Matt said.

I would hope no one is hung up on an infinite, 2048 or even 17 scales. I know I'm not.

For me, exploring such questions adds to ones basic knowledge of what music is, and how vast it might be.


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott

Don't get hung up on them!
Edit: I.e. ... what Matt said.

I would hope no one is hung up on an infinite, 2048 or even 17 scales. I know I'm not.

For me, exploring such questions adds to ones basic knowledge of what music is, and how vast it might be.


I am not hung up on scales or any other music theory. There is only one set in stone rule in music and that is there are no rules in music. Just play from your heart and you will do just fine. Consequently one with no learned music theory/scales and still be a fantastic musician.


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MarioD #727868 08/16/22 03:16 PM
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Yeah Mario,

I think it is pretty simple.

When I was a kid I was obsessed with the guitar--like addicted to it. My parents could not wrestle it out of my hands from the age of 12 on, when I bought my first real acoustic with tobacco cropping money.

I studied scales for hours every day not because I had to but because I was mesmerized, finding all those patterns on the fretboard that turned out to be math equations. Next to girls, what was there in life, if not a fretboard???

So years later, when someone talks about all the things you have to do and have to know I always want to laugh. Sure, it has to come from the heart. But if you want to tell a girl you love her, she has to know you mean it. She will not be fooled. Same thing with music.

So, you either love your instrument or you don't.

And if you do, you know there actually is a rule.

If it sounds good, put your finger there.

If it doesn't don't.

You will know.

It will be just as natural as going in for the kiss.

smile

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Originally Posted By: David Snyder
Yeah Mario,

I think it is pretty simple.

When I was a kid I was obsessed with the guitar--like addicted to it. My parents could not wrestle it out of my hands from the age of 12 on, when I bought my first real acoustic with tobacco cropping money.

I studied scales for hours every day not because I had to but because I was mesmerized, finding all those patterns on the fretboard that turned out to be math equations. Next to girls, what was there in life, if not a fretboard???

............................


smile


David, our starting paths are very similar. I was 14 when I became addicted to guitars. I got my first job picking cherries (we had to be 14 to get working papers up here in this state), saved my money, and bought my first acoustic guitar. Every free minute I had I was on that guitar. Besides teaching myself via the old Mel Bay guitar books I was killing my Chuck Berry albums trying to learn his licks.

I also found out that playing guitar was a great way to meet girls! However the one I married I did not meet at a gig!

Your absolutely right in that if it sounds good it is good.

PS - my kissing has been limited to mostly one lady for the last 55 years!


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Originally Posted By: David Snyder

And if you do, you know there actually is a rule.
If it sounds good, put your finger there.

+1 and very well articulated, there is a rule.
If this rule didn't exist, we wouldn't have music.
Consider this spectrum: painful noise, sound, mediocre music, good music, great music. (With great music spanning generations and centuries.)

With absolutely no rules you get noise, that few if any, will be interested in listening to. An example: Record a chimpanzee banging on a grand piano, and then try to have Pandora or your local radio station play it for the masses. I don't think you'd get too far.

Why is Beethoven, Mozart and others still reverred today? I'd say because they understood the rules and applied them masterfully. And these rules could very well be psychological or emotional.

If we drill a bit deeper we find that proper rhythm is one element that plays a huge role in good and great music. I'm hoping that thru music theory I can discover other elements.


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Originally Posted By: David Snyder

And if you do, you know there actually is a rule.
If it sounds good, put your finger there.

+1 and very well articulated, there is a rule.
If this rule didn't exist, we wouldn't have music.
.......................


But if the notes you play don't follow the accepted rules of the day then there are no rules right?

For instance the same 88 keys were under Beethoven that were under Monk but their music is totally different. Beethoven followed the rules of his time and Monk broke all of them.

My point is that music is always evolving, sometimes for the better and sometimes not, but to evolve one must break the current rules.

Or am I way off base here?

Last edited by MarioD; 08/17/22 02:11 AM.

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MarioD #727912 08/17/22 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted By: MarioD
My point is that music is always evolving, sometimes for the better and sometimes not, but to evolve one must break the current rules.

Or am I way off base here?

Yes, music is always evolving and yes, sometimes rules are broken or changed and yes, new rules are written to add to the body of existing rules. But none of this says rules don't exist.

In addition to the rule of rhythm, I suspect that if we explore deeper that we will find that there are rules involving melody, harmony and other elements of good/great music, that if broken will slide you down the spectrum from music into sound and then if you keep going, painful noise.

I suggest that music in general is saturated with rules . . . for good reason. Some we may be conciously aware of and others not so much.

Even in our most "rule-less" genre, jazz, in many works I can hear the rules at play; consistent rhythm, repeating phrases, moving away from a musical thought and the returning to it, etc. I think this is because the composer had an audience in mind that he/she intends to communicate with.

I suspect that music is full of rules because at some deep level, music is a language. And in order for the reciever to understand what the transmitter is transmitting, both have to understand a common set of rules that govern the language.

No Rules = Randomness = Noise

In my opinion, here is a great piece of music. To demonstrate my above equation, import this into your DAW and then attempt to break every rule you can. Tweak the rhythm, alter the phrasing, randomly modify the structure. I think you'll find noise is the result.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgFhNbFvl_s


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Jazz, unless it’s the anarchy kind of free jazz (which I have no use for), works because all the players do know the rules. They may knowingly choose to break some of them for uniqueness, but the underlying song structures are followed by all. This is how I can perform in concert with someone I’ve just met, with no rehearsal. It’s a common and unspoken language we all share.


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Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
Jazz, unless it’s the anarchy kind of free jazz (which I have no use for), works because all the players do know the rules. They may knowingly choose to break some of them for uniqueness, but the underlying song structures are followed by all. This is how I can perform in concert with someone I’ve just met, with no rehearsal. It’s a common and unspoken language we all share.

+1
Anarchy Jazz. Never heard that description before (it fits), and I too have no use for it. I simply don't understand the dielect, if in fact, it is a dialect.

An observation: Since frequenting this forum, and without exception, every song posted in my opinion has followed rules. Be it rock, jazz, country, blues or other genre. Even lyrically there are rules involving cadence and rhyme. Lyricists, here and elsewhere know this well when they practice their tradecraft.

Indeed, I'd say that in order for a song to be a member of a genre that it has to (at least primarily) follow the rules of that genre, because all languages are rules-based. Blues in particular has a heavy rules-based song structure. I don't have the knowledge to put it into words, but if you violate that rule, you've destroyed the song. Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, BB King, etc, all know this rule and (innately) so do their audiences. . . which I think is cool.


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MarioD #728044 08/18/22 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted By: MarioD
David, our starting paths are very similar. I was 14 when I became addicted to guitars.

My musical history is quite different from you guys. Less than 7 years ago I retired after an exciting and stimulating career and so I bought a bass guitar and started to teach myself. I soon found myself in a church band where I learned my first 2 rules about playing music:

1. Keep in time with everybody else, especially the drummer
2. Blend

As for working as a child. We grew up blue collar so I started raking the neighbor's leaves in the Autumn and shovelling their driveways in the Winter when school was cancelled due to snow storms starting at age 10. Then I "graduated" to a paper route which was steadier money. Those days taught me something about work ethic.

Last edited by Bass Thumper; 08/20/22 12:12 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper

My musical history is quite different from you guys. Less than 7 years ago I retired after an exciting and stimulating career. And I looked around and noticed I didn't have a passion (other than my wife and my faith) so I bought a bass guitar and started to teach myself. I soon found myself in a church band where I learned my first 2 rules about playing music:
1. Keep in time with everybody else, especially the drummer
2. Blend

As for working as a child. We grew up blue collar so I started raking the neighbor's leaves in the Autumn and shovelling their driveways in the Winter when school was cancelled due to snow storms starting at age 10. Then I "graduated" to a paper route which was steadier money. Those days taught me something about work ethic.


I wish that you lived around here and played the bass around 1973! I had a wedding band with 4 regular musicians but a number of temporary bassist! I fired most all of them because they could not adhere to your #1 and #2! Drinking did not help there rhythm either. Having a bassist that does not adhere to those standards can really kill a band.


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The pentatonic scale is, probably, the most used scale in popular music - for solos, "improvisations" and such.

Let's not forget atonalism as described by Schoenberg in his Pierrot Luniare.
It has strict, and difficult to follow, rules for those indoctrinated in the classical/18thC musical traditions that still outline much musical discourse.



I love this period of his work dearly but cannot begin to work within it's parameters as my skills, ears and heavily reinforced expectations simply won't allow it.

I do, however, "break the rules" often - particularly those related to chord progressions within a "key" or "key" itself.
That said, some of my stuff has been described, by music teachers, as senseless.

I was told that this was an egregious breaking of the rules...that it couldn't be a song, that it needs to be rebuilt from the ground up etc. I, quite simply, like the sound of the chords together and built the melody from chord tones as that "sound" suited the melancholy/disrupted-ness and paranoia of the lyric.


I've written plenty of songs that are more well behaved/well tempered. This is one I wrote, (well, the chords & lyrics), in 76 or 77 but forgot/lost until a couple of years ago. It's constrained by the chords I knew at the time...about half a dozen.


Last edited by rayc; 08/18/22 08:10 PM.

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I've made it to the Circle of Fifths in the newbies book.
Pages 92 and 93:
The creation of the Circle of Fifths is the very foundation of modern Western music theory, which is why we talk about it so much in this book.
Along with being your best friend for deciphering key signatures on sight, the Circle of Fifths is just as essential in writing music, because its clever design is helpful in composing and harmonizing melodies, building chords, and moving to different keys within a composition.


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Page 171 has a rather sweeping statement.

When you really think about it, the entire history of Western music can be summed up by I-V-I or I-IV-I. From Baroque-period music to rock ‘n’ roll, this formula holds darned true. What’s really amazing is that this simple formula has resulted in so many songs that sound so different from one another. This variation is possible because the notes and chords in a key signature can be arranged in so many different ways.

I wonder how true the 1st sentence is.


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One thing not mentioned in this thread is the term Scale Tone 7ths or sometimes Scale Tone Degrees. It's described in several places in this thread but not named. That term is very well known among musicians. What your major and minor charts are showing is Scale Tone 7ths. Note a 7th chord is four notes, not a basic triad. Sure, people can play a major or minor triad on guitar or piano but 75% of the time or more it's a version of a 7th chord because a simple triad is so plain vanilla. 7th chords are the foundation of pretty much everything. In the major chart you created it should be called the Scale Tone 7ths chart. 1 is major, 2 is minor, 3 is minor, etc. But, it's a Major or Minor 7th with the minor 7th down a half step so in C the Maj 7th is B but the Min 7th is Bb.

The comment about knowing all the scales and theory but then you can break those rules is completely wrong for a newbie. No, you can't break the rules until you know them so intimately you can play every one of them in your sleep then maybe think about breaking them. The point of endless practicing to learn a diminished or whole tone scale is to pound it into your brain what they sound like so when you listen to records you recognize exactly what they're doing. If you're only messing around in your basement writing your own stuff then feel free to break some rules but even then, not recommended. If you're playing out with others then absolutely not. Start doing that you'll get thrown off the stage or at least never get called back again. Pretty much everyone I work with in rock, blues, funk, jazz groups and one big band knows all this stuff better than I do but I can hang with them.

Each one of those scales have a distinctive sound against the primary tonality of the song. You hear it, you realize the person played a snippet of a whole tone scale to lead to the next chord change for example so the next time you play that tune you can play something that compliments it and why? Because you practiced it for hours and hours over the last six months or whatever. Each scale requires different fingerings and hand positions so it's not something you can just do with no practice. If you ask your guitarist what he did and he says I played two bars of whole tone over the four chord you know what he means. You don't work on that stuff what he said is Greek to you.

So yeah, if you want to be a complete player you need to know all those scales. Do I know them all fluidly? Heck no that's a ton of work but I do know the most commonly used ones, all I'm saying is this is one reason learning music is a lifelong thing because there's isn't time unless you're a genius level full time pro. Us part time hackers have other things to do in addition to our little musical hobby. To me the most important scales to learn are of course the major and minor but then learn the blues scale, by far the most important one in classic rock and blues, the pentatonic major and minor (very important) then the diminished and whole tone. That's only six, not too bad.

People think this is for mostly jazz, not true at all. I've analyzed lots of classic rock stuff by the Eagles, the Allman Bros, Santana, Genesis, Queen and so many more. Most of those guys when you read their bios started as very educated musicians, they knew all this stuff from day one. Neil Schon's dad Matt played sax in the symphony and co wrote several Journey tunes so no, Neil didn't just pick it up on his own. Some did of course but they had so much talent and great ears they figured it out as they went but that's very rare. Paul McCartney for example grew up in a house where his father was the leader of a big band and had a piano in his living room. What about modern music? Lady Gaga, Nora Jones and Charlie Puth are all classically trained pianists.

All these great players learned all these rules at an early age and probably broke some of them but not until much later. You have to be a master before you have the right to start breaking them because they've been developed over centuries and are there for a very good reason. They work.

Bob


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Just wanted to follow up and say that I finally finished my newbies book, it was a good read and a good start.
I learned a lot from it and would suggest it to anyone who is at my theory level.

I also wanted to thank all those that participated in this discussion, there is a lot of knowledge contained in this thread.

https://www.amazon.com/Music-Theory-Dumm...77858&psc=1


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